You Can't Outrun Obesity... But Diet Alone Isn't the Answer
Mashable recently covered an article by the British Journal of Sports Medicine titled You can’t Outrun Obesity. What follows are some brief thoughts on the article itself, as well as weight loss and an overall healthy lifestyle.
It has been said that weight loss/control is 75% diet and 25% exercise (Strength and Conditioning, mobility, stability...). I agree with this very general statement and I think in areas such as this, general works. We don't need to overthink and hyper-analyze health. Typically, a common sense approach -- changing habits and becoming more disciplined in healthy habits and overcoming the unhealthy habits that drive chronic disease, dysfunction and reduce our ability to thrive -- works best. Adding the right, thoughtful exercise routine to your life combined with a healthy diet establishes the best chance of living a full, robust life.
While I agree with the premise of this article the very title, You Can’t Outrun Obesity, perpetuates a faulty mindset. It seems that the first mode of exercise folks think of to "lose weight" is to begin running, technically jogging. If beginning a form of low intensity cardio is your idea of exercise for weight loss, you are setting yourself up for injury and failure. I am a big fan of running but remember that you should never run to get in shape but rather, get in shape to run. Once you have gotten yourself in shape to run (mobility, proper running mechanics, strength training) focus on thoughtful intensity instead of long, slow distances. Run intervals. This will do more to increase your aerobic capacity, burn calories, save time and reduce the potential for overuse injuries. I’ve always believed that strength and power are the elixir of youth - most of life's activities are about strength and power not endurance.
When it comes to putting the right calories into our bodies I think Jack LaLanne said it best, "If man made it don't eat it.” We were beautifully designed to eat naturally occurring foods.
Instead of looking for some magic potion to feel better, look better and function better, start with the basics. Eat protein with every meal. Natural, unaltered fat is your friend. Sugar - especially High Fructose Corn Syrup (HFC) - is your enemy. Complex carbs mainly from vegetables and some fruit are good. Add some (and I mean some) grains and you have a recipe for success. Can we get more complicated with our diets? Of course, but let's cover the basics first.
If you need a sports drink how about making up a bottle with water, natural apple juice (not from concentrate, free from additives or extra sugar) and a few tablespoons of Grade C maple syrup. You need a sugar solution of about 250 calories in 20 ounces. Why put a processed, expensive sports drink that contains HFC into your system when you are trying to be healthy?
Back to the point: if you are trying to lose weight, watch total calorie intake but also pay attention to the source of your calories. Add exercise, but not just cardio or "lifetime" sports like swimming or tennis. Weight lifting is the ultimate lifetime sport if it is done correctly and intelligently. Weight lifting improves muscle quality and density which puts your metabolism to work 24 hours/day. Increased metabolism leads to greater weight loss and weight lifting provides the strength, power, endurance, mobility and stability to do all the things you want to do. Stand taller, feel better and lift heavy stuff beautifully!